FinCEN Finds Iraq-based Al-Huda Bank to be of Primary Money Laundering Concern and Proposes a Rule to Combat Terrorist Financing

Immediate Release

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that identifies Al-Huda Bank, an Iraqi bank that serves as a conduit for terrorist financing, as a foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern. Along with its finding, FinCEN proposed imposing a special measure that would sever the bank from the U.S. financial system by prohibiting domestic financial institutions and agencies from opening or maintaining a correspondent account for or on behalf of Al-Huda Bank.

Bad actors like Al-Huda Bank and its foreign sponsors fuel violence that threatens the lives of U.S. and Iraqi citizens alike while diverting funds that could otherwise support legitimate business and the economic aspirations of the Iraqi people. Treasury remains committed to its longstanding shared work with the Government of Iraq to strengthen the Iraqi economy and protect both the U.S. and Iraqi financial systems from abuse.

“Iraq has made significant progress in rooting out illicit activity from its financial system, but unscrupulous actors continue to seek to take advantage of the Iraqi economy to raise and move money for illicit activity,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “By identifying Al-Huda Bank as a key money laundering channel for destabilizing terrorist activity by Iran, proposing a special measure that will sever its correspondent banking access, and imposing sanctions on their CEO, we can protect the Iraqi financial system and its legitimate businesses, as well as the international financial system, from abuse by Iran and other illicit actors.”

“Evidence available to FinCEN has demonstrated that Al-Huda Bank served as a significant conduit for the financing of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs),” said FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki. “We will continue to leverage the full range of our authorities to target terrorist financing while simultaneously supporting the legitimate use of the international financial system.”

As described in the finding, for years, Al-Huda Bank has exploited its access to U.S. dollars to support designated FTOs, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and IRGC-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), as well as Iran-aligned Iraqi militias Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH). Moreover, the chairman of Al-Huda Bank is complicit in Al-Huda Bank’s illicit financial activities including money laundering through front companies that conceal the true nature of and parties involved in illicit transactions, ultimately enabling the financing of terrorism.

Since its establishment, Al-Huda Bank has been controlled and operated by the IRGC and the IRGC-QF. After establishing the bank, the Al-Huda Bank chairman began money laundering operations on behalf of the IRGC-QF and KH. Additionally, Al-Huda Bank affords access to the U.S. financial system to actors known to use fraudulent documentation, fake deposits, identity documents of the deceased, fake companies, and counterfeit Iraq dinar, providing opportunities to obscure the identities of the transaction counterparties to correspondent banking relationship providers.

To protect U.S. banks from Al-Huda Bank’s illicit activity, FinCEN is taking this action pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act (section 311). Section 311 actions alert the U.S. financial sector to foreign institutions, such as Al-Huda Bank, that are of primary money laundering concern and through the public rulemaking process, if necessary, prevent direct and indirect access to the U.S. financial system. FinCEN has proposed a rule that would impose special measure five, which would prohibit domestic financial institutions and agencies from opening or maintaining a correspondent account for or on behalf of Al-Huda Bank.

This finding and NPRM are issued today alongside complementary Treasury actions to disrupt funding for Iran-aligned terrorist groups. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Hamad al-Moussawi, the owner and chairman of Al-Huda Bank, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. Previously, on November 17, 2023, OFAC designated six key individuals affiliated with KH following the group’s attacks against United States personnel and partners in Iraq and Syria. On January 22, 2024, OFAC designated three additional key individuals affiliated with KH, a business used by KH to generate revenue and launder money, as well as an Iraqi airline that the IRGC-QF and its proxies in Iraq used to transport fighters, weapons, and money to Syria and Lebanon. Additionally, since the brutal attacks against Israel in October, OFAC has imposed five rounds of sanctions targeting Hamas-linked operatives and financial facilitators.


Section 311 grants the Secretary of the Treasury authority, upon finding that reasonable grounds exist for concluding that one or more financial institutions operating outside of the United States is of primary money laundering concern, to require domestic financial institutions and domestic financial agencies to take certain “special measures.” The five special measures set out in section 311 are safeguards that may be employed to defend the United States financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing risks. The Secretary may impose one or more of these special measures in order to protect the U.S. financial system from such threats. Through special measure one, the Secretary may require domestic financial institutions and domestic financial agencies to maintain records, file reports, or both, concerning the aggregate amount of transactions or individual transactions. Through special measures two through four, the Secretary may impose additional recordkeeping, information collection, and reporting requirements on covered domestic financial institutions and domestic financial agencies. Through special measure five, the Secretary may prohibit, or impose conditions on, the opening or maintaining in the United States of correspondent or payable-through accounts for or on behalf of a foreign banking institution, if such correspondent account or payable-through account involves the foreign financial institution found to be of primary money laundering concern. The authority of the Secretary to administer the Bank Secrecy Act, including, but not limited to, section 311, codified at 31 U.S.C. § 5318A, has been delegated to the Director of FinCEN.

The NPRM as submitted to the Federal Register is currently available here. Written comments on the NPRM may be submitted within 30 days of publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register.